Celtic broadcasters launch international production fund

A host of broadcasters from the Celtic regions have joined forces to set up an exciting new media production fund to develop new drama, animation, and factual programmes in the Celtic languages.

The Celtic International Fund will run an annual joint-commissioning round between the indigenous Celtic language television broadcasters and funders of Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Northern Ireland.

It has been set up by BBC ALBA (with funding from MG ALBA ), S4C, TG4, and Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund (ILBF ).

The aim of the Celtic International Fund is to promote co-development and then co-production through Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, and Irish, and to encourage a broader European and worldwide internationalisation of productions which are originally conceived in those Celtic languages.

The Celtic International Fund will provide film-makers with an opportunity to co-develop and co-produce distinctive, ambitious works to enrich prime time programme schedules, to have a national impact with audiences in the territories of Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland and seek to reach audiences worldwide.

The initial call-out encompasses three genres - factual, drama, and animation. All successful projects will undergo a development phase where funding will be provided to both develop ideas and the co-production framework, which must have a production element in Scotland, Wales and either Ireland, or Northern Ireland.

The Celtic International Fund will be administered by a joint commissioning team drawn from the Celtic language broadcasters and funders who are partners in the scheme.

TG4 director general, Alan Esslemont, welcomed the new co-production initiative:

“In a media landscape dominated by high production values, driven by international giants with deep pockets, it is more and more important that TG4 creates an environment for Irish independent companies where quality Irish ideas can flourish in the international market.

“Growing and internationalising the creative economy in Ireland is a key component of TG4’s recently launched five year strategy. It is not correct to think that international co-production can only be achieved with English language partners like the UK and the US. This new Celtic partnership, combined with recent EBU initiatives on European co-production, means that TG4 will become an important partner in European and worldwide programme markets allowing us to bring higher quality programmes to our viewers.”

TG4 also recently signed a co-production agreement with Korean broadcaster, JTV, opening up access to broadcast funds in Korea and is at present engaged with S4C and JTV in a co-produced factual series, with further co-productions planned for 2019.

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